Alice


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1970)

- Jean-Pierre Auffredo -- sax, flute, violin

- Sylvain Duplant -- bass, vocals

- Jean Falissard -- drums, percussion

- Claude Olmos -- guitar

- Alain Suzan -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, flute

 

  line up 1 (1970-72)

- Jean-Pierre Auffredo -- sax, flute, violin

NEW - Bruno Besse -- guitar, vibraphone (replaced Claude Olmos)

- Sylvain Duplant -- bass, vocals

- Alain Suzan -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, flute

NEW - Jean-Pierre Villemin  -- drums, percussion (replaced

  Jean Falissard)

 

  line up 3 (1972-73)

- Luc Bertin -- vocals, keyboards, synthesizers

- Ian Jelfs -- vocals, rhythm guitar

- Paul Semama -- lead guitar

- Alain Suzan -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, flute

- Alain "Doudou" Weiss -- drums, percussion

 

 

 

Alan Jack Civilization (Claude Olmos and Jean Falissard)

- Brothers McDaniel

- Carefully Done Patient

- Circus (Ian Jelfs)

- Coeur Magique (Claude Olmos)

- Devotion

- Docdail

- Jean Falissard (solo efforts)

- The Five Gentlemen (Claude Olmos)

- The Godfathers  (Claude Olmos)

- Ian Jelfs (solo efforts)

- Magma (Claude Olmos and Alain "Doudou" Weiss)

- M.O.T.U.S. (Ian Jelfs)

- The Mythics (Claude Olmos)

- William Sheller

- The Stormsville Shakers (Ian Jelfs)

- Alain Suzan (solo efforts)

- We Free

- Well

 

 

 


 

Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Arrêtez le monde

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 393 043
Year:
 1972

Country/State: France

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: Canadian pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 238

Price: $80.00

 

Alice came together in 1970 (yes, the name was inspired by the Lewis Carroll story) and initially  featured the talents of multi-instrumentalist Jean-Pierre Auffredo, bassist Sylvain Duplant, drummer Jean Falissard, guitarist Claude Olmos, and singer Alain Suzan.   Falissard and Olmos had previously played with blues-rockers The Alan Jacks Civilization.  Signed by the French BYG label, the band made their debut with a 1970 single:

 

  

 

- 'De L'Autre Côté Du Miroir' b/w 'Veins' (BYG catalog number BYG 129 019)

 

Shortly after the single was released Falissard and Olmos split, with Bruno Besse (guitar) and Jean-Pierre Villemin (drums) stepping in as replacements.

 

inner sleeve photo 

 

Prior to the release of their second studio album, Alice underwent another personnel shake-up.  When things settled down singer/bassist Suzan was only survivor.  Backing him on the new album was an entirely new line-up featuring keyboardist Luc Bertin, former Circus  rhythm guitarist  Ian Jelfs, lead guitarist Paul Semama, and former Magma drummer Alain "Doudou" Weiss.   Originally released in France and Canada with the title "Arrêtez le monde" (I think it translates loosely as "stop the world"), their second studio album was also released in the UK and German with a new title ("All Ice") and a scary new cover (which probably didn't help sales all that much).  Even more interesting was the fact the album featured re-recorded versions of the songs with English lyrics..  I bet it sounds interesting, but good luck finding a copy for less than $300.  At that price I'll stick with the French lyrics.

 

Suzan was credited with penning all eleven tracks and while the performances were all in French, to my ears a sizable part of the album didn't really sound like your typical early-'70s slice of pretentious French jazz-rock posturing.  Okay, the freak-out instrumental 'Byzance' peeled off in that direction, and the instrumentals 'Introduction' and 'Il est' sounded way too folky for my tastes, but two thirds of these songs sported strong melodies (the title track was a radio-ready ballad), couple with nice vocals, and occasional flashes of rock urgency ('Ouverture' was a great rocker and Semama's guitar solo on 'Salina' was top notch).  As for the reviews that label the album progressive - well I guess so, but don't buy it expecting to hear Pink Floyd's "Meddle" or something out of the Magma catalog.

 

"All Ice" (Polydor catalog number 2393 043)

 

- Starting out as a flute propelled instrumental, 'Introduction' had a medieval feel that left me wondering what I'd stumbled into.  Things improved a bit when Luc Bertin's Hammond and Paul Semama's fuzz guitar kicked in, but then the track went back to its folk roots.   rating: ** stars

- Initially showing kind of a laidback folky feel, 'Salina' took awhile to get into gear, but then Bertin's synthesizers, Alain Suzan's bass, and Semama's blazing lead guitar kicked in giving the track a sound that recalled a weird mash-up of the pied piper pipping and Mike Oldfield (check out the 'bell' effect on Semama's guitar if you want to hear the Oldfield resemblance).    Sound strange ?  It was, but I have to admit I loved it.   rating: **** stars

- Wow, totally unexpected ... 'Arrêtez le monde (Parte 1)' was a stunningly beautiful ballad showcasing the band's shimmering harmony vocals and an instantly enticing melody.  Nice, understated lead guitar from Semama only made it even stronger and the fact it was sung in French just didn't matter with a song of this calber.  Easy to see why this one got tapped as a French single.  With English lyrics, this one would have been a massive hit.   One of those songs that simply gets stuck in my head when I hear it.   Polydor tapped it as a French single.    rating: ***** stars

- 'Byzance' opened up with the sound of thunder and lightning and then thanks to Weiss' martial drums,  turned into something that sounded like an aural mash-up between drill practice and a really bad acid trip.  Quite disturbing.   rating: ** stars

- Complete with wind sound effects and an extended Suzan flute solo, the instrumental 'Il est' sounded like a slice of incidental film music - easy to picture some woman looking out to sea for her long lost sea faring husband.  Mildly pretty, but nothing to get excited about.   rating: *** stars

- Everytime I hear the brief instrumental title track refrain, I check my turntable to make sure it's working ...  I have no idea why, but the end of the song slows down ...  rating: *** stars

- Kicked along by Semama's roaring guitar and Suzan's fantastic voice, side two's opener 'Ouverture' found the band returning to a more conventional rock sound.  Easily one of the standout performances on the album !!!   rating: **** stars

- A smooth and catchy acoustic ballad, 'Le Roseau' again underscored what a great voice Suzan had.  Semama also unveiled his impressive slide guitar chops.  Another song with high commercial potential.  rating: **** stars

- ' Quelqu´un qui t´aime' was another pretty acoustic ballad that spotlighted some nice 12 string moves and the band's glistening harmony vocals.  The song's always reminded me of an American band, but for years the exact comparison has evaded me ...   rating: **** stars

- I wasn't all that keen on Suzan's extended, multi-tracked opening flute solo, but things got a little bit better when the bass kicked in and the band actually started singing.  Another pretty ballad (something to do with a bird?).      rating: *** stars

- A two part medley, ' Le cercle' opened up with a nice mix of Bertin's church organ and Suzan's hypnotic bass.  About a minute into the track Semama's screaming lead guitar kicked in and the song never looked back, morphing into what was the album's toughest rocker.  François Debricon's sax gave the tune a mild Pink Floyd-flavor, but when the full horn section kicked in, it started to sound like Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" where they've got the entire USC marching band kicking along behind them.    I still love it.    rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned, the album was tapped for a French single:

 

- 1972's 'Arretez le Monde (et laisser-moi descendre)' b/w 'Le roseau' (Polydor catalog number  2056 173)

 

Far from perfect, but an album that I play every couple of months.  Well worth lookin' for.

 

"Arrêtez le monde" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Introduction (instrumental)   (Alain Suzan) - 1:13

2.) Salina (instrumental)   (Alain Suzan) - 4:55

3.) Arrêtez le monde (Parte 1)   (Alain Suzan) - 4:32

5.) Byzance   (Alain Suzan) - 2:50

5.) Il est   (Alain Suzan) - 5:09

7.) Arrêtez le monde (Parte II) (insttrumental)   (Alain Suzan)  0:59

 

(side 2)

1.) Ouverture   (Alain Suzan) - 3:34

2.) Le Roseau   (Alain Suzan) - 3:49

3.) Quelqu´un qui t´aime   (Alain Suzan) -2:49
4.) Franky l´oiseau   (Alain Suzan) - 2:36
5.) Le cercle   (Alain Suzan) - 6:38
     i.) Parte I   (Alain Suzan)
     ii.) Parte II   (Alain Suzan)

 

 

 

 

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